Panetta calls latest NK nuclear test ‘highly provocative’

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta phoned South Korean Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-Jin to discuss the “highly provocative” nuclear test carried out by North Korea last weekend.

Panetta renewed the U.S. pledge to defend the South against aggression from Pyongyang.

“There is no question North Korea constitutes a threat to the U.S.,” Panetta said. “Make no mistake, the U.S. military is prepared to take all necessary steps” to repel attacks from the North.

Panetta said at his final press conference as the U.S. defense secretary that it was still unclear whether the underground nuclear explosion in the North was of a plutonium or uranium-based device. He also could not verify North Korean claims that the test was successful in miniaturizing the weapon for possible use on the warhead of a missile.

In response, Panetta said the U.S. would “increase our missile defenses to deal with the threat” and coordinate more closely with the South Koreans and the Japanese on joint defense.

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Richard Sisk
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  • LtKitty

    Well, the crap the DPRK leadership spews about America has always been highly provocative. MacArthur was right, we should have pushed these tyrants back into China and then some.

    Also, I’m glad to see our allies getting more support for defense against these lunatics. Missile defense is an excellent counter to states with (perhaps soon to be) a few nuclear weapons. The success rate of MD was 80%? Definitely worth it in this case, even if China moans about it.

    Speaking of the Chinese, I wonder what their response will be. They don’t seem too thrilled about this either, so it could be interesting!

  • TonyC

    South Korea will now have to consider a preemptive strike. They are still at war and never signed a peace treaty. North Korea having a miniaturized nuclear warhead is a grave concern to South Korea. President Bush Sr was premature to remove the US nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula. I only hope the US Navy has funds to keep at least one boomer close to the action? Sequestration is on all the minds of potential adversaries.

  • superraptor

    The US is becoming unreliable as far as protecting its alleis is concerned. We should allow Japan, SK and Germany to build its own nuclear deterrence which would allow the US to reduce its military budget. Japan and Germany would have nuclear missile subs up and running in no time.

  • Musson

    Were the NORKs testing designs for Iran?

  • Benjamin

    How can they tell the difference between a uranium and plutonium bomb?

    I think the S.Korean’s have it right in enhancing the number and quality of missiles they have aimed at the North. Having these missiles will be able to limit the ability of NK to use WMD’s effectively.

    • Guest

      Short version of answer = very different detonation characteristics

  • frank

    So the US will again give North Korea free oil and food and beg for them to stop testing just like Clinton did for all those years.

  • SJE

    The solution to NK lies through China. The problem is that the Chinese have conflicting views on their client, just like the Pakistanis and the Taliban.

  • Lance

    Nothing we can do what more sanctions no food the NK people are now eating each other how starved they are. China provides military aid despite the UN. Say its bad yes. But unless you want to start Korea 2.0 with millions killed nothing you can really do.

  • george

    Let’s hope the next Sec Def doesn’t go home to visit his wifey every weekend on the taxpayer dollar like Panetta did.

    • whatever

      Would you rather see the next Sec Def go home to visit his wifey every weekday (Mon through Fri, on the taxpayer dollar) instead?

  • obewankinoo

    why does it have to be small enough to be placed on the warhead of a missile – put it in a freighter and just ship it to the port…they’d be more of a threat if they could think outside the box…

  • LCON
  • LCON
  • Rob

    Our government is ignoring the statement North Korea made long ago.

    All of the US led UN sanctions are hurting their country and for so long now that they consider it just a long prolonged form of war.

    When North korea is capable of hitting us with a nuke they will do so even at the risk of their entire obliteration.

    All it takes is to drop sanctions and let it be known we have never wanted to invade or take over their country. Peace and trying to improve the global economy does not work if the major countries are building an arsenal.

    Sanctions can be reactivated if their hostilities do not stop.

    Otherwise, we will just push them to try to give nukes to terrorists. That is if it’s not already too late for that.

    I hate dictator regimes but we had our chance to sort it back in 1953 but China stepped in.

    There is a chance they are just all barking dogs and there never will anything to worry about except that they accidently test too big of a bomb and wipe themselves out.

  • Rob

    If someone has the money, please send a cheap video player to North Korea’s leader, with a video of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Followed by a few of our best tests and Modern warfare videos from the history channel.

  • fillmorecoffins

    Any war between North/South Korea will result in the destruction of Seoul. That has been the gun to the head that has prevented any action on the west’s part. Add nuclear weapons gained by the north and that’s nightmarish for a future war. Land war on China’s turf is not even thinkable. By the way, this site comes out with articles at a government’s pace.

  • Justin

    I am not spending tax money on new nukes!

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